It’s hard to believe now, but it’s likely that every original resident of Port Macquarie once wanted to live somewhere else. Founded in 1821 as a penal settlement, Port Macquarie was particularly infamous among convicts. Typically, convicts spent their daylight hours involved in heavy labour and discipline was harsh. Surrounded by water, dense bushland and rugged terrain, there was little prospect of escaping from Port Macquarie. Of course, if you spend time in Port Macquarie today you’ll find that escape is the last thing on your mind. With a population over 70,000 Port Macquarie offers its residents all the amenities you’d expect of a key regional centre, including excellent educational and medical facilities. At the same time, the city offers locals an incredibly relaxed lifestyle. With 15 spectacular beaches, numerous parks and a vibrant CBD, most residents of Port Macquarie today, will tell you that they’d never contemplate living anywhere else.
Restaurants & Cafés
Step onto the elevated boardwalk at Sea Acres Nature Reserve, wander through tropical rainforest and after ten minutes or so you’ll find yourself on the threshold of one of Port Macquarie’s most atmospheric eateries. The Rainforest Café has a great menu and obviously, its setting is spectacular. The CBD is, of course, crowded with restaurants, cafés and takeaway food outlets. Port Macquarie has an ever-growing food scene and a wide range of cuisines are available. Not surprisingly, the local seafood is exceptional!
Port Macquarie has many fine historic buildings, some of which were built by convicts. Constructed between 1824 and 1828, St Thomas’ Anglican Church is one of the few remaining convict built churches and as such is of great interest to historians.
The city’s original courthouse is also of note. Restored in 1993, it was subsequently classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and placed on the National Estate.
Sports, Fitness & Recreation
Croquet, anyone? If anything demonstrates the changes that have occurred since Port Macquarie was founded, the existence of a croquet club does just this.
Naturally, there are many other, less-genteel sports, played within the Port Macquarie area. Each year the city hosts the NSW Touch Football State Cupl, an event which regularly attracts big names from the National Rugby League. Other football codes are also played, as are sports such basketball, softball, cricket and tennis. There are numerous gyms in town and it’s easy to find a venue hosting classes in yoga or pilates. In Port Macquarie, people can choose to spend their time in sport or exercise,or in pure relaxation on Port Macquarie’s beaches, which offer great opportunities to swim and surf.
Real Estate & Design
Port Macquarie was once dominated by weatherboard cottages on large lots and you can still find some of these today. Increasingly, these homes are bought and renovated or indeed, demolished to make way for new residences. Port Macquarie also offers a wide range of homes on recently opened developments, including Port Shores and Sovereign Hills. Offering freestanding houses and apartments, Port Shores provides luxury homes with absolute waterfrontages. In addition, the development offers cluster-housing, which has proven popular due to its affordability. Currently under construction, Sovereign Hills will have its own town centre. A 10 minute drive from the CBD, this development will offer a wide variety of house and/or land packages.
Schools, Education & Institutions
Popular with families, Port Macquarie offers great childcare and educational services. Family day-care, long day-care and preschools are all well represented in the region. There are numerous public schools also, with West Port Primary and Port Macquarie Primary being among the most prominent. These two schools have provided secondary education for many years and are highly regarded. Independent primary and secondary schools are numerous, with St Joseph’s Primary School, St Columba Anglican School and Heritage Christian School among them. The Australian Technical College also offers a curriculum for students in years 11 and 12 and the North Coast TAFE provides post-secondary education.
Port Macquarie is home to a huge range of shopping outlets and everyday essentials can be easily accessed. Many locals shop at Port Central or Settlement City. Both are large centres, housing a large number of national retailers as well as variety or specialty stores. Major retailers of furniture, electrical items and whitegoods are well represented in Port Macquarie and are generally located on the town’s outskirts.
Distance from the CBD & Transportation
Port Macquarie and surrounding suburbs are well served by local buses. Approximately 390 kilometres from Sydney, the opening of a new jet airport means that this wonderland can now be reached by plane, in well under one hour.